Arizona’s economy is slowly but surely recovering, but there is still a long way to go before local businesses and industries are back on their feet. Lawmakers in Phoenix and Washington, DC should work to pass sensible solutions that will help empower American businesses and get people back to work.
Instead, some in Washington seem to be more focused on getting a union-friendly agenda at the expense of workers and businesses alike. The cleverly but misleadingly titled Protecting the Right to Organization Act (PRO Act) under consideration in the Senate is replete with radical provisions that threaten workers’ rights, stifle job creation, and overturn decades of established labor law – all so union bosses can increment their fraying registration numbers.
We are grateful, Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly are two of three Democratic Senators who have refused to co-sponsor this dangerously misguided bill. You should remain firm to protect Arizona’s economic recovery and to ensure that local businesses and employees are not deprived of rights.
Under the PRO Act, workers could no longer vote in secret to form a union. Instead, their rights to privacy and freedom of choice are being violated by forcing them to make these decisions in front of other workers, their employers and even union organizers. The timeframe for unionized elections would also be drastically cut in order to stem the debate about the potential disadvantages of organizing in the workplace and to give unions the upper hand.
In addition, this draft law would give the federal government the power to impose union formation on employers and workers. It would essentially allow a state arbitrator to impose binding contractual terms when employers and employees cannot reach a collective agreement within 120 days. Neither side would have a chance to vote on whether to agree to her new contract, and employers would not be able to contest the terms of the contract even if they could not afford them. This would be a disaster and could end up hurting local businesses and threatening local jobs.
Arizona is a proud state with the right to work – it’s in our constitution, in fact – and the PRO Act would repeal all right to work laws here and in the 26 other states that voted to implement it. This means that workers in Arizona would be forced to pay union dues whether they voted to unionize or support union activities. It’s hard to imagine how all of this would help workers. The states with the right to work have achieved greater economic prosperity through good policies.
The PRO Act would only help union leaders increase membership by violating the rights of workers and employers. Denying workers the choice of joining a union, how much a union deducts from their wages, what happens to their personal information, and whether they even have a job is not the answer. This bill could make it very difficult for local businesses and industries to get back on their feet, all at the expense of the workers the bill is designed to help. Senators Sinema and Kelly should oppose this dangerous legislation.
Steve Trussell is the executive director of the Arizona Rock Products Association.